Why is the VA keeping medical marijuana from veterans with PTSD?

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Medical marijuana has been a life-saving treatment for hundreds-of-thousands of residents all across Florida and millions of people all across the United States. And with 1.5 million veterans in the state, Florida’s Department of Veteran Affairs has a track record of meeting, and even exceeding the needs of some of its worthiest citizens. This has been especially true in cutting Florida’s levels of veteran homeless by nearly 50 percent in just the past ten years.

Unfortunately, because so many veterans suffer from significant physical and mental conditions associated with PTSD, there’s still a long way to go toward making sure that all veterans receive the care and treatment to which they’re entitled — especially with medical marijuana.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is the result of any number of traumatic events that can occur during a normal tour with a branch of the military. Combat, life-threatening experiences and accidents all take their tolls on veterans’ mental health and wellbeing. Veterans report lingering memories, severe difficulty sleeping, and functional problems that make it difficult to function at work or school. And people living with PTSD can have perceptual or emotional swings that make normal life difficult and stressful, causing crippling and even life-threatening substance use disorders.

Medical Marijuana Results for PTSD Treatment

Fortunately, medical marijuana treatments have shown outstanding results for veterans and others recovering from PTSD. Medical marijuana has been shown to improve patients’ ability to mediate essential functions like memory consolidation and retrieval, in addition to lowering stress and patient-reported anxiety. Cannabinoids can prompt people to produce more of the neurotransmitters that encourage pleasure, happiness, and better memory retrieval. And the same cannabinoids play some role in preventing further recurrences of underlying trauma, in a sense, avoiding traumatic memories, while maintaining emotional wellbeing.

Some studies have shown, more specifically, that a neurotransmitter called anandamide can appear at lower levels among those using medical marijuana treatments. One of the body’s primary endocannabinoids, those that are produced naturally by the body, anandamide stimulates the endocannabinoid system which can affect mood, happiness, fear, and anxiety as a natural antidepressant.

One big part of PTSD is, essentially a lack of endocannabinoids, and that lack will induce symptoms of anxiety and fear, leaving veterans to cope with those symptoms anyway that they can, often through alcohol or similar substances. Many clinicians believe that pharmaceutical treatments like chemical antidepressant won’t work nearly as well for addressing the actual PTSD conditions. Medical marijuana has been shown to provide more and better relief.

The VA and Medical Marijuana

Unfortunately, the Veteran’s Administration still takes marijuana prohibition seriously. Though it’s been shown to be one of the most effective treatments for PTSD, medical marijuana may not be prescribed or recommended by any doctor treating veterans within the VA system.

The VA won’t deny benefits because of marijuana use, but discussions with doctors are confined primarily to discussions of substance abuse, rather than to discussions of the therapeutic or treatment-value of medical marijuana. While medical records are confidential and protected under patient privacy and confidentiality laws, treatments for PTSD avoid mention of the positive benefits of medical marijuana treatments and use. Most PTSD treatments coming directly from the VA involve chemical antidepressants and psychotherapy.

Veterans currently seeking medical marijuana need a recommendation from their physician. Marijuana Doctor is here to help you navigate the process from beginning to end and supports all of our veterans who have served in the armed forces. We have board-certified physicians to evaluate your case and determine if you could benefit from medical marijuana.

After you’ve received a recommendation, we’ll help you with the registration process with the Florida Department of Health as well. Best of all, the process is risk-free with a 100 percent money-back guarantee. If you don’t qualify, you don’t pay.

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